There are ways to support human rights in Iran with advocating for neither shock and awe nor estrangulation of civilians. In Congress now are two brilliant bills supported by Americans for Peace Now which help human rights activists in Iran:
HR 4301 – the Iran Digital Enhancement Act (IDEA) would help give the Iranian people the high-tech tools they need to communicate online. It would also make it harder for the Iranian government to monitor or block Internet communications.
HR 4303 – the Stand with the Iranian People Act (SWIPA) would punish corporations that help the Iranian government stifle free speech. It would also allow American nonprofits to provide humanitarian aid within Iran. And it would bar Iranian officials who have abused the human rights of the Iranian public from entering the United States.
Presently it is illegal for American companies to do business in Iran — including Twitter, Facebook, and the tools used by the Green movement activists to bypass the Iranian government’s stifling media control. As Roger Cohen opined in the NY Times:
That’s right. With the Islamic Republic weaker than at any time in its 31-year history, fractured by regime divisions and confronted by a Green movement it has tried to quash through force, U.S. sanctions are abetting the regime’s communications blackouts.
[Software designer Austin] Heap works with Babak Siavoshy, 27, at the Censorship Research Center (C.R.C.), whose engineers have developed software called “Haystack” that makes it near impossible for censors to detect what Internet users are doing.
“Double-click on Haystack and you browse the Internet anonymously and safely,” Siavoshy said. “It’s encrypted at such a level it would take thousands of years to figure out what you’re saying. It’s a potent open-society tool. It’s just a matter of getting it to Iran — and that’s still illegal.”
The Iranian people deserve better, it is beyond a doubt. But the American Jewish community poorly expresses their care for average Iranians. The Jewish community, by and large, is unethusiastically endorsing or loudly clamouring for sanctions. Or war — God forbid. Any Iranian who cares about their family back at home does not support sanctions.
Take action — tell Congress to support these two bills and help average Iranians win back their freedom. Without the bombs and starvation.